The Demon Cycle: The Daylight War by Peter V. Brett – Book Review [Bane of Kings]

the daylight war

Bane of Kings reviews the third installment in Peter V. Brett’s The Daylight War epic fantasy saga, entitled The Demon Cycle.

“A wonderful third novel shows that Peter V. Brett can live up to expectations and provide a thrilling read that makes it a strong contender for best novel of the year already.” ~The Founding Fields

I’m a huge fan of Peter V. Brett’s The Demon Cycle, having been hooked on reading it a couple of years ago when I discovered the first two novels on a buy-one-get-one half price deal in Waterstones. The cover art looked awesome and they really stood out amongst the crowd, so I quickly snapped them up and devoured them – really enjoying the books. And then, the waiting began. So naturally, when this book was eventually published recently, it wouldn’t be too long before I managed to get a copy. The day that I got the book request from NetGalley approved didn’t just make my day, it made my week. I almost instantly started reading The Daylight War, and well, loved it. As I’ve mentioned in the quote, I’d even go so far as to call it one of the best novels of 2013 already, it’s certainly up there.

On the night of a new moon all shadows deepen.

Humanity has thirty days to prepare for the next demon attack, but one month is scarcely enough time to train a village to defend themselves, let alone an entire continent caught in the throes of civil war.

Arlen Bales understands the coreling threat better than anyone. Born ordinary, the demon plague has shaped him into a weapon so powerful he has been given the unwanted title of saviour, and attracted the attention of deadly enemies both above and below ground.

Unlike Arlen, Ahmann Jardir embraces the title of Deliverer. His strength resides not only in the legendary relics he carries, but also in the magic wielded by his first wife, Inevera, a cunning and powerful priestess whose allegiance even Jardir cannot be certain of.

Once Arlen and Jardir were like brothers. Now they are the bitterest of rivals. As humanity’s enemies prepare, the only two men capable of defeating them are divided against each other by the most deadly demons of all: those that lurk in the human heart.

The book opens with a flashback, like The Desert Spear before it, only this time, rather than focus on Jardir, we’re focusing on Inevera, nearly thirty three years before the current events of the series, and we get to see her life as a child. However, we don’t spend as long with Inevera as we did with Jardir and soon we’re back with the promised couple, Arlen and Renna. It’s interesting to see that Renna is starting to follow Arlen on his path, despite the fact that she is meant to be the only person keeping Arlen in the world of men rather than having him thrust into the world of demons. Leesha gets a pretty heavy chunk of the book as well as her character is expanded upon much like the rest of the dramatis personae that we have seen grown over the course of the series so far. Renna Tanner gets a bigger role to play in this book than in the previous novels, and her character really develops here as she struggles to make herself able to keep up with Arlen, who is now more focused and in control of everything than he’s ever been, and it’s really interesting to read just how much he’s changed as a character since The Painted Man (or The Warded Man in the USA), as well as other characters who have undergone various developments.

the daylight warAs from what one might suggest by the title, the action sequences and the pace are increased in this book from the previous novels. Peter V. Brett has managed to capture the ability to hook the reader in and keep them turning the pages, and I was not be able to put this down although I did have to keep an eye on the charge of my Kindle Fire at times. The great thing about reading this novel on the Kindle Fire was that I could take it anywhere without carrying a massive hardback book around, therefore I was able to quickly load it up and start reading whenever I had a spare moment.  A few may have complained about pacing issues in previous novels, but I think Brett has nailed it here. The Daylight War’s action scenes are nicely handled, as well as the book’s plot. And it ends on a cliffhanger as well. A very, very awesome cliffhanger that had to force me to put the book down for a few moments and think, “Did that just happen?” It’s a serious gamechanger in the series and proves that nobody, not even the main cast is safe.

And you won’t see it coming, which is especially good as many stories with Chosen One cliches are predictable and quite dull in places. This one isn’t though, as Brett weaves a powerful tale with a strong narrative, and whilst I may have initially believed this series to be a trilogy, I’m glad to see that there are more than three volumes. There isn’t any real drawbacks with this novel as a whole that I found, although I know that others have different opinions to me and have indeed read at least one negative review of this book. But for me, The Daylight War will most likely be the book to beat for 2013, and it truly is a terrific read.


THE DEMON CYCLE: The Painted Man, The Desert Spear, The Daylight War.

Milo, aka Bane of Kings, is a SFF/Comic reader, and watches a lot of TV. His favourite authors are Neil Gaiman, China Mieville, Jim Butcher, Brandon Sanderson & Iain M. Banks, whilst his favourite TV shows are Battlestar Galactica (2003), Person Of Interest, Firefly, Game of Thrones, & Buffy the Vampire Slayer


  • Bob Milne

    I found the final chapter a bit rushed, especially for a confrontation we’ve waited so long to see, but that cliffhanger was epic!